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Chapter 11


You are not for the manner nor the times,
They have their vices now most like to virtues;
You cannot know them apait by any difference,
They wear the same clothes, eat the same meat--
Sleep i' the self-same beds, ride in those coaches,
Or very like four horses in a coach,
As the best men and women.
_Ben Jonson_

On the following morning, while Nigel, his breakfast finished, was
thinking how he should employ the day, there was a little bustle upon
the stairs which attracted his attention, and presently entered Dame
Nelly, blushing like scarlet, and scarce able to bring out--"A young
nobleman, sir--no one less," she added, drawing her hand slightly over
her lips, "would be so saucy--a young nobleman, sir, to wait on you!"

And she was followed into the little cabin by Lord Dalgarno, gay,
easy, disembarrassed, and apparently as much pleased to rejoin his new
acquaintance as if he had found him in the apartments of a palace.
Nigel, on the contrary, (for youth is slave to such circumstances,)
was discountenanced and mortified at being surprised by so splendid a
gallant in a chamber which, at the moment the elegant and high-dressed
cavalier appeared in it, seemed to its inhabitant, yet lower,
narrower, darker, and meaner than it had ever shown before. He would
have made some apology for the situation, but Lord Dalgarno cut him
short--

"Not a word of it," he said, "not a single word--I know why you ride
at anchor here--but I can keep counsel--so pretty a hostess would
recommend worse quarters."

"On my word--on my honour," said Lord Glenvarloch--

"Nay, nay, make no words of the matter," said Lord Dalgarno; "I am no
tell-tale, nor shall I cross your walk; there is game enough in the
forest, thank Heaven, and I can strike a doe for myself."

All this he said in so significant a manner, and the explanation which
he had adopted seemed to put Lord Glenvarloch's gallantry on so
respectable a footing, that Nigel ceased to try to undeceive him; and
less ashamed, perhaps, (for such is human weakness,) of supposed vice
than of real poverty, changed the discourse to something else, and
left poor Dame Nelly's reputation and his own at the mercy of the
young courtier's misconstruction.

He offered refreshments with some hesitation. Lord Dalgarno had long
since breakfasted, but had just come from playing a set of tennis, he
said, and would willingly taste a cup of the pretty hostess's single
beer. This was easily procured, was drunk, was commended, and, as the
hostess failed not to bring the cup herself, Lord Dalgarno profited by
the opportunity to take a second and more attentive view of her, and
then gravely drank to her husband's health, with an almost
imperceptible nod to Lord Glenvarloch. Dame Nelly was much honoured,
smoothed her apron down with her hands, and said

"Her John was greatly and truly honoured by their lordships--he was a
kind painstaking man for his family, as was in the alley, or indeed,
as far north as Paul's Chain."

She would have proceeded probably to state the difference betwixt
their ages, as the only alloy to their nuptial happiness; but her
lodger, who had no mind to be farther exposed to his gay friend's
raillery, gave her, contrary to his wont, a signal to leave the room.

Lord Dalgarno looked after her, and then looked at Glenvarloch, shook
his head, and repeated the well-known lines--

"'My lord, beware of jealousy--
It is the green-eyed monster which doth make
The meat it feeds on.'

"But come," he said, changing his tone, "I know not why I should worry
you thus--I who have so many follies of my own, when I should rather
make excuse for being here at all, and tell you wherefore I came."

So saying, he reached a seat, and, placing another for Lord
Glenvarloch, in spite of his anxious haste to anticipate this act of
courtesy, he proceeded in the same tone of easy familiarity:--

"We are neighbours, my lord, and are just made known to each other.
Now, I know enough of the dear North, to be well aware that Scottish
neighbours must be either dear friends or deadly enemies--must either
walk hand-in-hand, or stand sword-point to sword-point; so I choose
the hand-in-hand, unless you should reject my proffer."

"How were it possible, my lord," said Lord Glenvarloch, "to refuse
what is offered so frankly, even if your father had not been a second
father to me?"--And, as he took Lord Dalgarno's hand, he added--"I
have, I think, lost no time, since, during one day's attendance at
Court, I have made a kind friend and a powerful enemy."

"The friend thanks you," replied Lord Dalgarno, "for your just
opinion; but, my dear Glenvarloch--or rather, for titles are too
formal between us of the better file--what is your Christian name?"

"Nigel," replied Lord Glenvarloch.

"Then we will be Nigel and Malcolm to each other," said his visitor,
"and my lord to the plebeian world around us. But I was about to ask
you whom you suppose your enemy?"

"No less than the all-powerful favourite, the great Duke of
Buckingham."

"You dream! What could possess you with such an opinion?" said
Dalgarno.

"He told me so himself," replied Glenvarloch; "and, in so doing, dealt
frankly and honourably with me."

"O, you know him not yet," said his companion; "the duke is moulded of
an hundred noble and fiery qualities, that prompt him, like a generous
horse, to spring aside in impatience at the least obstacle to his
forward course. But he means not what he says in such passing heats--I
can do more with him, I thank Heaven, than most who are around him;
you shall go visit him with me, and you will see how you shall be
received."

"I told you, my lord," said Glenvarloch firmly, and with some
haughtiness, "the Duke of Buckingham, without the least offence,
declared himself my enemy in the face of the Court; and he shall
retract that aggression as publicly as it was given, ere I will make
the slightest advance towards him."

"You would act becomingly in every other case," said Lord Dalgarno,
"but here you are wrong. In the Court horizon Buckingham is Lord of
the Ascendant, and as he is adverse or favouring, so sinks or rises
the fortune of a suitor. The king would bid you remember your
Phaedrus,

'Arripiens geminas, ripis cedentibus, ollas--'

and so forth. You are the vase of earth; beware of knocking yourself
against the vase of iron."

"The vase of earth," said Glenvarloch, "will avoid the encounter, by
getting ashore out of the current--I mean to go no more to Court."

"O, to Court you necessarily must go; you will find your Scottish suit
move ill without it, for there is both patronage and favour necessary
to enforce the sign-manual you have obtained. Of that we will speak
more hereafter; but tell me in the meanwhile, my dear Nigel, whether
you did not wonder to see me here so early?"

"I am surprised that you could find me out in this obscure corner,"
said Lord Glenvarloch.

"My page Lutin is a very devil for that sort of discovery," replied
Lord Dalgarno; "I have but to say, 'Goblin, I would know where he or
she dwells,' and he guides me thither as if by art magic."

"I hope he waits not now in the street, my lord," said Nigel; "I will
send my servant to seek him."

"Do not concern yourself--he is by this time," said Lord Dalgarno,
"playing at hustle-cap and chuck-farthing with the most blackguard
imps upon the wharf, unless he hath foregone his old customs."

"Are you not afraid," said Lord Glenvarloch, "that in such company his
morals may become depraved?"

"Let his company look to their own," answered Lord Dalgarno, cooly;
"for it will be a company of real fiends in which Lutin cannot teach
more mischief than he can learn: he is, I thank the gods, most
thoroughly versed in evil for his years. I am spared the trouble of
looking after his moralities, for nothing can make them either better
or worse."

"I wonder you can answer this to his parents, my lord," said Nigel.

"I wonder where I should find his parents," replied his companion, "to
render an account to them."

"He may be an orphan," said Lord Nigel; "but surely, being a page in
your lordship's family, his parents must be of rank."

"Of as high rank as the gallows could exalt them to," replied Lord
Dalgarno, with the same indifference; "they were both hanged, I
believe--at least the gipsies, from whom I bought him five years ago,
intimated as much to me.--You are surprised at this, now. But is it
not better that, instead of a lazy, conceited, whey-faced slip of
gentility, to whom, in your old-world idea of the matter, I was bound
to stand Sir Pedagogue, and see that he washed his hands and face,
said his prayers, learned his acddens, spoke no naughty words, brushed
his hat, and wore his best doublet only on Sunday,--that, instead of
such a Jacky Goodchild, I should have something like this?"

He whistled shrill and clear, and the page he spoke of darted into the
room, almost with the effect of an actual apparition. From his height
he seemed but fifteen, but, from his face, might be two or even three
years older, very neatly made, and richly dressed; with a thin bronzed
visage, which marked his gipsy descent, and a pair of sparkling black
eyes, which seemed almost to pierce through those whom he looked at.

"There he is," said Lord Dalgarno, "fit for every element--prompt to
execute every command, good, bad, or indifferent--unmatched in his
tribe, as rogue, thief, and liar."

"All which qualities," said the undaunted page, "have each in turn
stood your lordship in stead."

"Out, you imp of Satan!" said his master; "vanish-begone-or my
conjuring rod goes about your ears." The boy turned, and disappeared
as suddenly as he had entered. "You see," said Lord Dalgarno, "that,
in choosing my household, the best regard I can pay to gentle blood is
to exclude it from my service--that very gallows--bird were enough to
corrupt a whole antechamber of pages, though they were descended from
kings and kaisers."

"I can scarce think that a nobleman should need the offices of such an
attendant as your goblin," said Nigel; "you are but jesting with my
inexperience."

"Time will show whether I jest or not, my dear Nigel," replied
Dalgarno; "in the meantime, I have to propose to you to take the
advantage of the flood-tide, to run up the river for pastime; and at
noon I trust you will dine with me."

Nigel acquiesced in a plan which promised so much amusement; and his
new friend and he, attended by Lutin and Moniplies, who greatly
resembled, when thus associated, the conjunction of a bear and a
monkey, took possession of Lord Dalgarno's wherry, which, with its
badged watermen, bearing his lordship's crest on their arms, lay in
readiness to receive them. The air was delightful upon the river; and
the lively conversation of Lord Dalgarno added zest to the pleasures
of the little voyage. He could not only give an account of the various
public buildings and noblemen's houses which they passed in ascending
the Thames, but knew how to season his information with abundance of
anecdote, political innuendo, and personal scandal; if he had not very
much wit, he was at least completely master of the fashionable tone,
which in that time, as in ours, more than amply supplies any
deficiency of the kind.

It was a style of conversation entirely new to his companion, as was
the world which Lord Dalgarno opened to his observation; and it is no
wonder that Nigel, notwithstanding his natural good sense and high
spirit, admitted, more readily than seemed consistent with either, the
tone of authoritative instruction which his new friend assumed towards
him. There would, indeed, have been some difficulty in making a stand.
To attempt a high and stubborn tone of morality, in answer to the
light strain of Lord Dalgarno's conversation, which kept on the
frontiers between jest and earnest, would have seemed pedantic and
ridiculous; and every attempt which Nigel made to combat his
companion's propositions, by reasoning as jocose as his own, only
showed his inferiority in that gay species of controversy. And it must
be owned, besides, though internally disapproving much of what he
heard, Lord Glenvarloch, young as he was in society, became less
alarmed by the language and manners of his new associate, than in
prudence he ought to have been.

Lord Dalgarno was unwilling to startle his proselyte, by insisting
upon any topic which appeared particularly to jar with his habits or
principles; and he blended his mirth and his earnest so dexterously,
that it was impossible for Nigel to discover how far he was serious in
his propositions, or how far they flowed from a wild and extravagant
spirit of raillery. And, ever and anon, those flashes of spirit and
honour crossed his conversation, which seemed to intimate, that, when
stirred to action by some adequate motive, Lord Dalgarno would prove
something very different from the court-haunting and ease-loving
voluptuary, which he was pleased to represent as his chosen character.

As they returned down the river, Lord Glenvarloch remarked, that the
boat passed the mansion of Lord Huntinglen, and noticed the
circumstance to Lord Dalgarno, observing, that he thought they were to
have dined there. "Surely no," said the young nobleman, "I have more
mercy on you than to gorge you a second time with raw beef and canary
wine. I propose something better for you, I promise you, than such a
second Scythian festivity. And as for my father, he proposes to dine
to-day with my grave, ancient Earl of Northampton, whilome that
celebrated putter-down of pretended prophecies, Lord Henry Howard."

"And do you not go with him?" said his companion.

"To what purpose?" said Lord Dalgarno. "To hear his wise lordship
speak musty politics in false Latin, which the old fox always uses,
that he may give the learned Majesty of England an opportunity of
correcting his slips in grammar? That were a rare employment!"

"Nay," said Lord Nigel, "but out of respect, to wait on my lord your
father."

"My lord my father," replied Lord Dalgarno, "has blue-bottles enough
to wait on him, and can well dispense with such a butterfly as myself.
He can lift the cup of sack to his head without my assistance; and,
should the said paternal head turn something giddy, there be men
enough to guide his right honourable lordship to his lordship's right
honourable couch.--Now, do not stare at me, Nigel, as if my words were
to sink the boat with us. I love my father--I love him dearly--and I
respect him, too, though I respect not many things; a trustier old
Trojan never belted a broadsword by a loop of leather. But what then?
He belongs to the old world, I to the new. He has his follies, I have
mine; and the less either of us sees of the other's peccadilloes, the
greater will be the honour and respect--that, I think, is the proper
phrase--I say the _respect_ in which we shall hold each other. Being
apart, each of us is himself, such as nature and circumstances have
made him; but, couple us up too closely together, you will be sure to
have in your leash either an old hypocrite or a young one, or perhaps
both the one and t'other."

As he spoke thus, the boat put into the landing-place at Blackfriars.
Lord Dalgarno sprung ashore, and, flinging his cloak and rapier to his
page, recommended to his companion to do the like. "We are coming
among a press of gallants," he said; "and, if we walked thus muffled,
we shall look like your tawny-visaged Don, who wraps him close in his
cloak, to conceal the defects of his doublet."

"I have known many an honest man do that, if it please your lordship,"
said Richie Moniplies, who had been watching for an opportunity to
intrude himself on the conversation, and probably remembered what had
been his own condition, in respect to cloak and doublet, at a very
recent period.

Lord Dalgarno stared at him, as if surprised at his assurance; but
immediately answered, "You may have known many things, friend; but, in
the meanwhile, you do not know what principally concerns your master,
namely, how to carry his cloak, so as to show to advantage the gold-
laced seams, and the lining of sables. See how Lutin holds the sword,
with his cloak cast partly over it, yet so as to set off the embossed
hilt, and the silver work of the mounting.--Give your familiar your
sword, Nigel," he continued, addressing Lord Glenvarloch, "that he may
practise a lesson in an art so necessary."

"Is it altogether prudent," said Nigel, unclasping his weapon, and
giving it to Richie, "to walk entirely unarmed?"

"And wherefore not?" said his companion. "You are thinking now of Auld
Reekie, as my father fondly calls your good Scottish capital, where
there is such bandying of private feuds and public factions, that a
man of any note shall not cross your High Street twice, without
endangering his life thrice. Here, sir, no brawling in the street is
permitted. Your bull-headed citizen takes up the case so soon as the
sword is drawn, and clubs is the word."

"And a hard word it is," said Richie, "as my brain-pan kens at this
blessed moment."

"Were I your master, sirrah," said Lord Dalgarno, "I would make your
brain-pan, as you call it, boil over, were you to speak a word in my
presence before you were spoken to."

Richie murmured some indistinct answer, but took the hint, and ranked
himself behind his master along with Lutin, who failed not to expose
his new companion to the ridicule of the passers-by, by mimicking, as
often as he could do so unobserved by Richie, his stiff and upright
stalking gait and discontented physiognomy.

"And tell me now, my dear Malcolm," said Nigel, "where we are bending
our course, and whether we shall dine at an apartment of yours?"

"An apartment of mine--yes, surely," answered Lord Dalgarno, "you
shall dine at an apartment of mine, and an apartment of yours, and of
twenty gallants besides; and where the board shall present better
cheer, better wine, and better attendance, than if our whole united
exhibitions went to maintain it. We are going to the most noted
ordinary of London."

"That is, in common language, an inn, or a tavern," said Nigel.

"An inn, or a tavern, my most green and simple friend!" exclaimed Lord
Dalgarno. "No, no--these are places where greasy citizens take pipe
and pot, where the knavish pettifoggers of the law spunge on their
most unhappy victims--where Templars crack jests as empty as their
nuts, and where small gentry imbibe such thin potations, that they get
dropsies instead of getting drunk. An ordinary is a late-invented
institution, sacred to Bacchus and Comus, where the choicest noble
gallants of the time meet with the first and most ethereal wits of the
age,--where the wine is the very soul of the choicest grape, refined
as the genius of the poet, and ancient and generous as the blood of
the nobles. And then the fare is something beyond your ordinary gross
terrestrial food! Sea and land are ransacked to supply it; and the
invention of six ingenious cooks kept eternally upon the rack to make
their art hold pace with, and if possible enhance, the exquisite
quality of the materials."

"By all which rhapsody," said Lord Glenvarloch, "I can only
understand, as I did before, that we are going to a choice tavern,
where we shall be handsomely entertained, on paying probably as
handsome a reckoning."

"Reckoning!" exclaimed Lord Dalgarno in the same tone as before,
"perish the peasantly phrase! What profanation! Monsieur le Chevalier
de Beaujeu, pink of Paris and flower of Gascony--he who can tell the
age of his wine by the bare smell, who distils his sauces in an
alembic by the aid of Lully's philosophy--who carves with such
exquisite precision, that he gives to noble, knight and squire, the
portion of the pheasant which exactly accords with his rank--nay, he
who shall divide a becafico into twelve parts with such scrupulous
exactness, that of twelve guests not one shall have the advantage of
the other in a hair's breadth, or the twentieth part of a drachm, yet
you talk of him and of a reckoning in the same breath! Why, man, he is
the well-known and general referee in all matters affecting the
mysteries of Passage, Hazard, In and In, Penneeck, and Verquire, and
what not--why, Beaujeu is King of the Card-pack, and Duke of the Dice-
box--HE call a reckoning like a green-aproned, red-nosed son of the
vulgar spigot! O, my dearest Nigel, what a word you have spoken, and
of what a person! That you know him not, is your only apology for such
blasphemy; and yet I scarce hold it adequate, for to have been a day
in London and not to know Beaujeu, is a crime of its own kind. But you
_shall_ know him this blessed moment, and shall learn to hold yourself
in horror for the enormities you have uttered."

"Well, but mark you," said Nigel, "this worthy chevalier keeps not all
this good cheer at his own cost, does he?"

"No, no," answered Lord Dalgarno; "there is a sort of ceremony which
my chevalier's friends and intimates understand, but with which you
have no business at present. There is, as majesty might say, a
_symbolum_ to be disbursed--in other words, a mutual exchange of
courtesies take place betwixt Beaujeu and his guests. He makes them a
free present of the dinner and wine, as often as they choose to
consult their own felicity by frequenting his house at the hour of
noon, and they, in gratitude, make the chevalier a present of a
Jacobus. Then you must know, that, besides Comus and Bacchus, that
princess of sublunary affairs, the Diva Fortuna, is frequently
worshipped at Beaujeu's, and he, as officiating high-priest, hath, as
in reason he should, a considerable advantage from a share of the
sacrifice."

"In other words," said Lord Glenvarloch, "this man keeps a gaming-
house."

"A house in which you may certainly game," said Lord Dalgarno, "as you
may in your own chamber if you have a mind; nay, I remember old Tom
Tally played a hand at put for a wager with Quinze le Va, the
Frenchman, during morning prayers in St. Paul's; the morning was
misty, and the parson drowsy, and the whole audience consisted of
themselves and a blind woman, and so they escaped detection."

"For all this, Malcolm," said the young lord, gravely, "I cannot dine
with you to-day, at this same ordinary."

"And wherefore, in the name of heaven, should you draw back from your
word?" said Lord Dalgarno.

"I do not retract my word, Malcolm; but I am bound, by an early
promise to my father, never to enter the doors of a gaming-house."

"I tell you this is none," said Lord Dalgarno; "it is but, in plain
terms, an eating-house, arranged on civiller terms, and frequented by
better company, than others in this town; and if some of them do amuse
themselves with cards and hazard, they are men of honour, and who play
as such, and for no more than they can well afford to lose. It was
not, and could not be, such houses that your father desired you to
avoid. Besides, he might as well have made you swear you would never
take accommodation of an inn, tavern, eating-house, or place of public
reception of any kind; for there is no such place of public resort but
where your eyes may be contaminated by the sight of a pack of pieces
of painted pasteboard, and your ears profaned by the rattle of those
little spotted cubes of ivory. The difference is, that where we go, we
may happen to see persons of quality amusing themselves with a game;
and in the ordinary houses you will meet bullies and sharpers, who
will strive either to cheat or to swagger you out of your money."

"I am sure you would not willingly lead me to do what is wrong," said
Nigel; "but my father had a horror for games of chance, religious I
believe, as well as prudential. He judged from I know not what
circumstance, a fallacious one I should hope, that I should have a
propensity to such courses, and I have told you the promise which he
exacted from me."

"Now, by my honour," said Dalgarno, "what you have said affords the
strongest reason for my insisting that you go with me. A man who would
shun any danger, should first become acquainted with its real bearing
and extent, and that in the company of a confidential guide and guard.
Do you think I myself game? Good faith, my father's oaks grow too far
from London, and stand too fast rooted in the rocks of Perthshire, for
me to troll them down with a die, though I have seen whole forests go
down like nine-pins. No, no--these are sports for the wealthy
Southron, not for the poor Scottish noble. The place is an eating-
house, and as such you and I will use it. If others use it to game in,
it is their fault, but neither that of the house nor ours."

Unsatisfied with this reasoning, Nigel still insisted upon the promise
he had given to his father, until his companion appeared rather
displeased, and disposed to impute to him injurious and unhandsome
suspicions. Lord Glenvarloch could not stand this change of tone. He
recollected that much was due from him to Lord Dalgarno, on account of
his father's ready and efficient friendship, and something also on
account of the frank manner in which the young man himself had offered
him his intimacy. He had no reason to doubt his assurances, that the
house where they were about to dine did not fall under the description
of places which his father's prohibition referred; and finally, he was
strong in his own resolution to resist every temptation to join in
games of chance. He therefore pacified Lord Dalgarno, by intimating
his willingness to go along with him; and, the good-humour of the
young courtier instantaneously returning, he again ran on in a
grotesque and rodomontade account of the host, Monsieur de Beaujeu,
which he did not conclude until they had reached the temple of
hospitality over which that eminent professor presided.

Sir Walter Scott